Chinese communication experts convened at a forum in Beijing on Saturday to discuss ways of improving the reporting of domestic affairs for an international audience.
"The Chinese should develop more efficient ways of communicating with the outside world," said Wu Jianmin, president of the Foreign Affairs College and former Chinese Ambassador to France.
"An acclaimed foreign expert on China once told me China's distorted image would be the largest obstacle for its further development," Wu said. "Sometimes, even when information is reported objectively, it can still send the wrong signals."
For example, some media focus too much on China's GDP or exports growth, giving the foreign audience an impression that everything in China is rosy, but they forget the cost of the successes, for example harm to the environment, Wu said.
The Chinese media which provides overseas services include Xinhua News Agency, CCTV 9, China Radio International, China News Service and several other TV channels and daily newspapers, magazines and websites.
The CCTV channels providing overseas services are available in about 100 countries and regions and have 60 million clients, half of the 120 million clients of the BBC, according to a report by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) released in early 2006.
Experts believe Chinese media are facing tough challenges in communicating with overseas audiences. "The most difficult thing is that the most talented professionals are gravitating towards higher-paid jobs," said Ma Shengrong, vice president of Xinhua News Agency.
"The voices of the Chinese media are still weak on the world stage due to various factors, including the difficulty of translating some Chinese values and phrases into English," he added.
The two-day First Global Journalism and Communication Conference will end on Sunday. It is sponsored by Tsinghua University, Duke University in the United States and Shanghai-based Dragon TV to mark the 20th anniversary of China's first English TV program.